Simple Sister Goes To Sydney

When Flo resolved to go to town from brothers three a yell went up,
Predicting ruin and distress. Bill in his horror dropped a cup.
“Gorstruth!” he said, “in Sydney there what is a simple girl to do?
They took me down. I lost me watch and seven quid. What ‘ope for you?”

Ben turned on her in pale dismay. “Look here, me girl, ain’t you bin told
How one iv them there spieler blokes done me for twenty pound in gold?
He was as nice a gentleman as any in the blessed shops:
He got away with all I had, and took a luner at the cops.”

“Me, too,” said Dave, “that time I went to Sydney town to see the Show
One trimmed me for me bran’ new suit. You stay where we can watch you, Flo.”
Flo packed. “If spieler comes at me his finish will be sharp,” she said;
And when the boys next heard of her she’d got a bloke, and then was wed.

She wrote: “He’s rather nice, I think, and I am putting him to work.
Next Chrissmiss we are comin’ up to see yous people back o’ Bourke.”
And when he came he brought for Bill a silver watch and seven quid,
For Dave a bran’ new suit of check, a ruby tie-pin and a lid.

To Ben he handed twenty pounds, in nice new minted sovereigns, too.
And still the brothers gaped at him, and still their great amazement grew.
He was a natty kind of chap, with gentle manners, small and slim.
And when they spoke ‘twas as one man. “So ‘elp me cat,” they said, “it’s ‘im!”

I'm lyin' in a narrow bed,
'N' starin' at a wall.
Where all is white my plastered head
Is whitest of it all.
My life is jist a whitewashed blank,
With flamin' spurts of pain.
I dunno who I've got to thank,
I've p'raps been trod on by a tank,
Or caught out in the rain
When skies were peltin' fish-plates, bricks
'n' lengths of bullock-chain.

I'm lyin' here, a sulky swine,
'N' hatin' of the bloke
Who's in the doss right next to mine
With 'arf his girders broke.
He never done no 'arm t me,
'N' he's pertickler ill;
But I have got him snouted, see,
'N' all old earth beside but she
Come with the chemist's swill,
'N' puts a kind, soft 'and on mine, 'n' all
my nark is still.

She ain't a beaut, she's thirty two,
She scales eleven stone;
But, 'struth, I didn't think it true
There was such women grown!
She's nurse 'n' sister, mum 'n' dad,
'N' all that straight 'n' fine
In every girl I ever had.
When Gabr'el comes, 'n' all the glad
Young saints are tipped the sign,
You'll see this donah take her place, first
angel in the line!

She's sweet 'n' cool, her touch is dew—
Wet lilies on yer brow.
(Jist 'ark et me what never knew
Of lilies up to now).
She fits your case in 'arf a wink,
'N' knows how, why, 'n' where.
If you are five days gone in drink,
N' hoverin' on perdition's brink,
It is her brother there.
God how pain will take a man, and
He has spoke with her!

I dunno if she ever sleeps
Ten minutes at a stretch.
A dozen times a night she creeps
To soothe a screamin' wretch
Who has a tiger-headed Hun
A-gnawin' at his chest.
'N' when the long, 'ard flght is won,
'N' he is still 'n' nearly done,
She smiles down on his rest,
'N' minds me of a mother with a baby at her
breast.

The curly kid we cuddled when
There was no splendid row
(It seemed a little matter then,
But feels so wondrous now).
It's part of her. She's Joan iv Ark,
Flo Nightingale, all fair
'N' dinkum dames who've made their mark
If she comes tip-toe in the dark,
We blighters feel her there.
The whole pack perks up like a bird, 'n'
sorter takes the air.

She chats you in a 'Ighland botch;
But if our Sis saw fit
To pitch Hindoo instead of Scotch
I'd get the hang of it,
Because her heart it is that talks
What now is plain to me.
At war where bloody murder stalks,
'N' Nick his hottest samples hawks.
I have been given to see
What simple human kindness is, what
brotherhood may be.

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